It comes in pieces and each one hurts,
Acquaintances, relatives, an aunt or a cousin.
News follows diagnosis but from a distance,
Positive news – the spin we choose
filters through life’s projects & errands, truths & lies
The damage is limited, the treatment severe,
Yet contained,
As the distance between shields us from the fear in their eyes.
The small shadow cast fades with successes relief
And we remark on progress made, odds improved.
Yet in a small way the shadow seeps in.
We internalize doubt
and falter momentarily in our confidence,
Our expectation,
Of following Aunt Mary’s eternal existence
Kicking and screaming at 96
But no. Never mind. I am fine.

Then comes another blow – closer this time,
A mother, a sister.
The fear grows closer and life holds its breath
With luck – that uncertain chance – the damage is contained
Cut out, treated.
Life resumes warily,
Holidays become more important
And communication dearer.
Fix those things you can control.
The treatment is clear yet
the low note of fear is audible and
the flash of nerves in the eyes visible.
Like a shot through the buffer
Like a breeze through a cloud
Realization sets in.
The shadow spreads.

Then there’s the news – a gene gone astray
The genetic component considered, explored, confirmed.
A sentence.
The shadow spreads, creating a familial silence, and unwanted bond
A background realized,
Grey against the horizon.
Yet the assumptions of life remain.
Testing confirms vulnerabilities.
Mom didn’t get it till midlife,
No need to worry yet. Be vigilant.

It’s what you don’t consider
Time’s twisted irony,
that comes back
And bites you.

The visit that shatters.
Not a parent, or an aunt, but my daughter.
My daughter, who holds my heart in her hand.
My daughter, my love.

Recent Posts

Had a stroke. Changed my life. Food. Art. Health. Activism.

Delete & Repeat is my artist reflection on living a healthy lifestyle, including creative expression and really good food. Its name is derived from a 2017 stroke that disrupted my life. ‘Delete & Repeat’ became a mantra of frustration for me as I struggled to organize my thoughts and communicate properly.

At the time I was a full time artist working in various new media, happily programming and creating electronic sculpture, interactive video & maintaining a full schedule travelling teaching, and showing.  The stroke effected my cognitive abilities and effectively shut down my career.

It took time and a complete change of lifestyle to recover. Primary to my effort was diet – I undertook a combination of keto with the addition watching inflammation to both lose weight and regain clarity. I added in regular exercise and yoga – and pursued a regular practice of research and learning.

In the food section I will post some of the recipes I live by. These recipes I follow my personal guidelines – they are not all super low carb (I currently stay in a low level of ketosis without the need to actually lose additional weight). In the health section I will include information and links to information that I come accross and see as potentially helpful, as well as things that I believe have helped me including exercise and yoga as well as cognetive practice in research and learning.

I am not a health professional of any sort so please do your own research. Where possible I will notate references.

After several years of effort things are paying off. I’m writing and working again. My art had been paused – it just recently picked back up. I have also renewed my commitment to activism – so important in the troubled world we live in. I intend on helping to right wrongs wherever I can. With my art – and whatever else I can find.

My Name Is Karen

This blog is meant to reflect me as a whole. I choose at this time to not publish my complete name – I’m just not there yet. I need the safety net of anonymity to protect my first real attempts at art again. Just call me Karen, but throw the name’s stereotype out the window. I am simply me.

January 22, 2020